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Pretty stupid.

Watching Fox News Sunday, I caught a panel on which Obama economic advisor Austin Goolsbee conceded that the administration had previously predicted unemployment would top out at around 8%, that it was now up to 9.4%, and that double-digit unemployment was a distinct possibility in the near future. Goolsbee didn’t resort to the administrations’s blather about “saving or creating jobs,” but he did repeat its fustian about how last month’s loss of 345,000 jobs (resulting in a half percentage point jump in the jobless rate) is somehow good news because it beat predictions (I don’t recall him saying whose) of even more dire loss numbers. It made me wonder why, if those predictions either existed or were serious, the Obama administration would have previously predicted that unemployment would top out at 8%?

Goolsbee then laughably intimated that the steep jump in the jobless rate could be attributable to hopeful signs that the economy is improving. Huh? See if you can follow this: He says flashes of hope that we are on the verge of a revival have purportedly caused previously uncounted jobless people to seek (but not find) work — that is, they waited out prosperous times, deciding to leap into the job hunt only when hundreds of thousands of heretofore gainfully employed people got pink-slipped and began competing for a declining pool of jobs. Of course, why shouldn’t Goolsbee think he can get away with these fables when the Obamedia has taken to repeating them verbatim? Witness the headline on page one of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: “Slower Job Losses Lift Hopes” — I’m sure that’s exactly the headline Bush would have gotten after a half-point jump in an already sky-rocketing jobless rate.

If that weren’t enough to make your head spin, Goolsbee also blamed Obama’s handling (i.e., nationalizing) of the auto industry on . . . President Bush. Obama, you see, was saddled with this mess because Bush — over the objections of his own party — decided back in December to raid billions in public money intended for bailing out the financial sector in order to bail out the automakers.

Again, how stupid does he think we are? Bush’s move came after then President-elect Obama implored him to take action to stave off the collapse of the auto-industry. This was one of the major topics of their meeting in the White House on November 11, covered here by the Wall Street Journal. Back then, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid were already urging Bush to study whether — regardless of how Democrat sponsored auto bail-out legislation fared — the president already had the authority to divert financial sector bail-out funds for Detroit. So it was that when Republicans defeated the auto bail-out bill December, Bush, at the urging of Obama and the Democrats, made one of the worst gaffes of his presidency by extending over $17B in government “loans” to GM and Chysler. For the Obama/Democrat line to now be that Bush foisted this mess on the new administration, and that Bush is to blame for Obama’s geometric exacerbation of the problem, is breathtaking.

Finally, Goolsbee explained that it was unfair to accuse President Obama of a flip-flop just because he is now amenable to taxing employer-provided health benefits despite arguing during the campaign that it was shameful for Senator McCain to suggest taxing employer-provided health benefits. After all, Goolsbee elaborated, the initiative to tax the benefits is not Obama’s idea; it is an idea of top Democrats (with whom the White House closely coordinates) to which Obama is listening because he’s just that kinda open-minded guy. Uh-huh.

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